Leisure recruits facing the future with careers for life

LONGEVITY: Witney Lakes director Sean Parker, second left, with apprentices Karl Franklin, Rosanna Cox and Jake Kemsley

LONGEVITY: Witney Lakes director Sean Parker, second left, with apprentices Karl Franklin, Rosanna Cox and Jake Kemsley Buy this photo

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Business Editor. Call me on 01865 425460

APPRENTICES at a leisure and golf resort are breaking the mould.

Witney Lakes has taken on three new recruits who are learning the ropes at the front end of the hospitality industry.

Director Sean Parker said: “Since we opened 19 years ago we have had apprentices but they have always been in the kitchen. Now we have three who are front of house.

“In this industry we are always struggling for people in these positions. Normally people doing waitressing, bar work and reception duties are between jobs. What we are saying is that it can be a good career.”

The trio, Rosanna Cox and Jake Kemsley, both 18, and 19-year-old Daisy Pratley are studying for NVQs in food and beverage service at City of Oxford College while working at Witney Lakes.

Former Burford School pupil Mr Kemsley said: “I did not want to go to university and applied for a job here. I worked here part-time when I was 16 and really enjoy the customer interaction.”

Mr Parker added: “Kids are pushed towards university but these people will be debt-free and ready for work.

“Graduates will be no better off when they come to us for jobs than school leavers.”

After completing their NVQs, the apprentices can take supervisory courses with a view to becoming the managers of the future.

Meanwhile, the resort also has three apprentices working in the kitchen while studying for NVQs on day release at City of Oxford College.

Karl Franklin, 18, a former pupil of Wood Green School in Witney, has been at Witney Lakes for seven months and is studying for a Level Three qualification in advanced cookery.

He said: “I have always wanted to be a chef. When I was in Year 8 at school I won a competition to cook two dishes using local produce. I also did work experience at Witney Lakes in Year 11.

“I am learning the business side and in the long-term I would like to have my own restaurant. I am really loving it.”

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